Wednesday, November 30, 2016

30 Day of Gratitude - Day 30

I am thankful for the Holiday season. We are so close to Christmas and this is the best time of the year. I love the giving spirit. I love all that the holidays represent.
I have been spending a lot of time getting ready for Christmas. Wrapping presents, making stocking stuffers, decorating the house and the tree. I am so excited for Christmas to come!

This last year was a bit hard here for us. Chris and I both lost Grandparents, other family issues went on and it just seemed like a lot to handle at times. I am grateful that we all made it through, with the help of those we love and that the Holidays are here. It is a time to spend with each other, a time to celebrate what we have and just a time to grateful for all the great people in our lives.

I am thankful.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 29

I am thankful for books. I love reading and being able to sit down on the couch and lose myself in a good story is one of the best feelings.
I am a bit of a book hoarder. I love buying new books and I am thankful for half price book stores, library sales and other ways I am able to add to my collection!

Monday, November 28, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 28

I am thankful for quiet evenings, in a warm house, with a cup of cocoa, while I watch Netflix.
Being a mom of multiple kids is amazing but it can also be exhausting. Some days are harder, today was one of those days. On days that seem to go badly, I am very thankful for the peace and quiet after all the kids are in bed.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 27

I am thankful our town rallied together and reopened our movie theater. It had closed for many reasons and a great group of people rallied together and did a bunch of fund raising.
Eventually, the money for updating was raised and the theater was reopened. We are very happy about this and it looks amazing!
It is now volunteer ran, which means the prices are low.
I am thankful for this, we take the kids to a lot of movies and having them be available, at a very affordable rate makes it so much better!

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 26

I am thankful for fun traditions with my family. I am thankful for the time spent together as we decorate our home for Christmas. I am thankful for the spirit of the wonderful Christmas season.
We always decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving, I love watching the kids decorate our tree. We turn on Christmas music and just spend the evening making our house festive.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 25

I am thankful for date nights with my husband. I am thankful for quality time we get to spend together and I am thankful we have people in our lives that we know we can trust with our children so we can have a worry free date night.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 24

I am thankful for the wonderful family I have and that I get to spend thanksgiving with them. I am thankful for the great food and wonderful company.

I am thankful I am surrounded by people I love. I am thankful for everyone in my life.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 23

I am thankful for my kitchen. I spent hours today working hard in my kitchen, making pies and other items for Thankgiving tomorrow.

I am thankful that I have a space to go that I can create wonderful things for my family to eat.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Home Schooling in the Raw - Teaching Kindness

One thing that I am sure most parents have dealt with, is the sometimes embarrassing honesty of kids. This has been an ongoing issue with our seven year old and we have been looking for creative ways to encourage kindness in her.

We had tried several approaches and she was still saying things we just did not want her saying. The biggest thing was her commenting on people's body sizes. We tried telling her that people come in all shapes and sizes, we tried telling her words can hurt people and it still just did not seem to be sinking in.

One day, after another embarrassing comment, I came up with the idea of making it a school lesson. I took some time and I searched pinterest. I found several pages that we did with her. I turned a week it into a week of studies and one of our final projects was making cards and handing them out to random people we met along our walk.

It seems to have been a huge success. She loved giving away those cards and I kept encouraging her each time. Reminding her that her words were making people smile, that she was making people feel happy and she was doing a good deed.

I am hoping that we have gotten it under control, if not I will do this exercise again. It was great to be able to have a life lesson also tie in with her schooling.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 22

I am thankful for my health. I know so many people that suffer daily with health issues. I am very thankful that I am healthy, I get to enjoy my life, enjoy my family and do not have to suffer like so many others.

Monday, November 21, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 21

I am thankful for my cooking and baking abilities. I am thankful my parents invested the time into teaching my how to cook, starting at a young age.

I love that I am now able to bless my family with wholesome, high quality meals. I love spending time with my own kids, now teaching them to cook.

I hope they learn as much as I did and I hope that one day they will continue the tradition.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 20

I am thankful for my pets. We have a shih tzu named Charlie and two cats Raven and Cookie. All our animals are rescue pets. We adopted Raven from a friend, Cookie was a stray that came to our house and eventually we brought her inside and we adopted Charlie from the local shelter.

I love my animals, they are a very loved part of our family. We are very thankful for them and glad they came into our lives the ways they did.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 19

We bought out first bountiful basket, I am very thankful for this organization. I am thankful we are able to get a large amount of food for our family, at a great value!

We bought the regular basket, plus 36 pounds of apples and 42 pears.
We plan on canning apples sauce and making apple pie. We are canning the pears as well. The rest of the fruit and veggies will be eaten.

Friday, November 18, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 18

I am thankful for cool days, spent inside with my children. I am thankful forearm cups of cocoa, sweet giggles over cartoons and relaxing time spent at home.
Winter is not always my favorite season, I am not a cold weather girl. I do like the extra time spent inside together. We spend more time with each other since we have more down time in the winter.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 17

We took our kids to a local event in town today called Living Windows tonight. It is a Christmas themed event, where people set up living displays in the windows of shops around down town. Normally this is not something that Kairi gets to attend due to her cold allergy. I am thankful that tonight was a beautiful night for. Our whole family was able to enjoy the event and stay for the lighted parade after! Warm fall nights are wonderful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 16

I am thankful that Chris and I have enough to provide for our family. I am thankful I do not have to worry about how we are going to feed our family or pay our bills.

I know we are blessed and I am incredibly thankful for what we have.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November Meal Plan - Part 2

November 13th - 19th
Sunday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner - Church Thanksgiving

Monday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Lunch meat sandwiches and fruit
Dinner - Ham, potatoes and carrots

Tuesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - PBJ sandwiches and fruit
Dinner - Gone

Wednesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Pancakes and fruit
Dinner - Au gratin potatoes and veggies

Thursday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Tuna sandwiches and veggies
Dinner - Ham and bean soup

Friday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Cheesy eggs and ham and fruit
Dinner - Spaghetti ( or spaghetti squash )  and meat sauce

Saturday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner - Cheesy beef burgers, home made fries and veggies

November 20th - 26th
Sunday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Pancakes, scrambled eggs and fruit
Dinner - Gone

Monday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - French toast and fruit
Dinner - Chicken, rice and veggies

Tuesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Mac and cheese and veggies
Dinner - Chicken alfredo and broccoli

Wednesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch -  Scrambled eggs, toast and fruit
Dinner - Stroganoff and green beans

Thursday -

Friday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner - Baked potato soup

Saturday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Chili
Dinner - Meatball subs and salad

November 27th - 30th
Sunday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Pancakes, eggs and fruit
Dinner - Baked ravoli and salad

Monday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Pizza and salad
Dinner - Chicken tacos, rice and beans

Tuesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Popcorn chicken, salad and cottage cheese
Dinner - Crock pot lasagna and salad

Wednesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Lunch meat sandwiches and veggies in dip
Dinner - Grilled cheese and tomato soup

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 15

I am thankful for my talents and being able to learn new skills. I am thankful I am able to make fun new things for my family and have something I can do that is fun for me.

I recently learned how to crochet, I have been knitting for years but I had not learned to crochet. I am so glad I did. I recently started making play food and I am really enjoying it so far.

Monday, November 14, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 14

The kids and I made a spontaneous trip to the zoo today. I am thankful that Chris and I chose to home school our kids so I have the chance to do fun things like this with them, at a moments notice.


Our zoo was just lucky enough to have a brand new baby born last month! They have a baby rhino and we have been waiting to see her. They just recently allowed her to be seen by the public and we knew we wanted to get there and see her! It was very exciting to see this little rhino and watch her walk around and play. We stayed in her area for a long time, eventually she got sleepy and took a nap so we went and explored the rest of the zoo.


I am thankful for fun days like this! I am thankful we home school and get these chances and I am thankful for time with my kids.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 13

I am thankful for my church. We attend a great church here in our town and I am thankful to be a part of that community. I am thankful for the charities they help, the missionaries they support, the people that attend and make up my church family, for the wonderful Pastor we have and the people that take the time to minister to my children's lives.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 12

A day late again! Chris and I were busy all day long cleaning and purging our house of clutter. We spent the day cleaning out our basement, which was a long over due task and in the evening we cleaned up our room.

We are like many other people I know, we plan and simply have to much stuff. My post today will focus on that. While I am thankful for all I have, it also makes me sit and think of those around me who do not have more than what they need, those that suffer and can not make ends meet.

I am thankful we have enough that we are able to help others, I am thankful we can use some of our over flow to help charities and people in need.

I am thankful for all I have in my life.

Friday, November 11, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 11

It is Veteran's Day today. Personally, I believe we should celebrate and honor our veterans every day but I do want to focus on Veterans for my post in honor of Veteran's Day.

I am beyond thankful for the sacrifices you make. I thank you for your willingness to fight for the rights of my family, that you protect us and keep our country the great place it is. Without our soldiers, we would fall.

Thank you for all you do. May God bless you and your families.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 10

I am sure that everyone has seen the protesting going on. It saddens me to see people disrespecting the American flag. I for one am thankful for my country, I am thankful for my flag. I am thankful for the Soldiers that gave their lives for my freedoms.


There is so much hate in our world today, so much division in our country. My wish is for people to ban together. I wish we all can remember what an amazing country we have and be thankful for the rights we have.

I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 9

Today I want to focus on my kids. I have talked about them in several other posts so far but I have not yet written a post that focuses on just them.

I love my kids, they are all amazing, unique and fun. Each one of them has a different personality and adds something extra special to our family.

I am incredibly blessed to be the mother of five amazing kids. I know that they are all going to grow up and change the world in their own very special ways.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Homeschooling in the Raw - Books I Want to Read the Kids

This post will be focusing on a list of books I want to read with my kids, all books will be linked on amazon but I am sure you can find all ( or at least most ) at your local library!

Enjoy and please add in the comments any suggestions.

I will be making updated lists down the road, when we have finished these books.

1. The Penderwick Series 
2. Holes
3. Matilda 
4. The Mouse and the Motorcycle Collection
5. The Princess and the Goblin
6. The Sword and the Stone
7. The Wind and the Willows 
8. The Tale of Despereaux
9. Stuart Little 
10. Where the Sidewalk Ends
11. Coraline 
12. Bridge to Terabithia
13. The Wrinkle in Time Set
14. My Side of the Mountain
15. The Secret Garden 
16. The Borrowers 
17. Freckle Juice 
18. Where the Red Fern Grows
19. The Chocolate Touch 
20. How to Eat Fried Worms 

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 8

It is Election Day here in America and this election season has been a roller coaster for sure. While I have no intentions of telling you who I voted for, because I feel like that is personal and not something that needs to be shared with the whole world, I will say I am thankful for the rights I have. I am thankful I live somewhere I can make my voice heard and I am thankful that I am free.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day Seven

I am again a day late, so I am going to sit down and write yesterday's post and today's post now so I am back on track.

Yesterday was a very trying day in my house. It was just one of those days where the kids did not want to listen, things were just not getting done and I was just very stressed. I was so thankful that the kids had an after school program to attend. It gave them something to do for a couple hours and gave me some time to breath. Cassandra napped the whole time and Chris and I were able to just do a whole lot of nothing, which does not happen a lot.

All parents have bad days, all children have bad days, it is just a fact of life. I am still incredibly thankful for my family though. Being a mother is a hard job, sometimes it takes everything in me and I am left feeling drained and other days it is so rewarding that my heart feel so full it could burst.

I am thankful for all parts of my family. I am thankful for my parents, who raised me to be the person I am. I am thankful for my sister and brother, we may differ but we love each other. I am thankful for all my inlaws, they helped shape my husband to be the man I love.

I am thankful for my extended family, each and every one of you have a special part in my life and I am thankful for you.

Monday, November 7, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 6

I am a day late on this but I still wanted to post for yesterday. I got busy last night and I just did not get this posted before I ended up going to bed early because I was tired.

I had a full day and spent some quality time with a friend and it was much needed. That said, I want to say how thankful I am for each and every one of my friends. You are all so unique and each bring something different into my life. I want to thank you for being a part of my life and I just want you to know I love you all! I am thankful for you.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 5

For today's post I want to talk about how thankful I am for my husband. 

Chris and I have been married for eleven years now and I am so thankful for every single day we have together. I married my best friend and I am so blessed to have him. 

He is a hard worker, a wonderful father, and the best husband a women could ask for. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Home Schooling in the Raw - Keeping Little Ones Busy

One of the biggest challenges we have in our daily home schooling lives involves a certain little two year old. She is as adorable as they come but when it comes to schooling, she can be a rather large pest.


I tried keeping her entertained with toys, cartoons and coloring but it did not last long. I knew I needed to come up with something and fast. Every time I would ask the kids to go get their school books, she would toddle along and ask, "Where's mine"?

The solution I came up with was making her a busy box. I found a cardboard box at target for $3, it was plain and I figured it would be perfect to let her decorate and keep all her items in it.
I started with buying dot markers, kumon sticker books, a block puzzle, early learning abc sticker books, crayons and stickers.

I wrote her name on the top and let her have fun decorating it. She spent most of the afternoon decorating her box while I did classes with her siblings.

The sticker books are her favorite for sure. She calls them her stickies. If you let her, she will sit down and do an entire sticker book at a time. It is great for keeping her entertained during school but it is going to start adding up price wise if I have to keep buying sticker books every week! 

We also recently redid our front porch. One of the things we added was a book shelf and each child has a shelf with their things on it. The bottom shelf is Cassandra's. It holds her blocks, her busy box, puzzles and a pull toy. I have found that if I sit on the floor and do school with the kids, she will sit quietly next to us and play with her toys on that shelf. 

I am glad that I have found ways to keep her entertained but still let her be involved in our school day. She is picking up on some of the lessons I am doing, learning her shapes and colors quickly and starting to know a few letters by sight.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series! It will be coming soon. 

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 4

Today is my niece's birthday, she turns three today! In honor of her birthday I want to write about my niece and my two nephews today.

I am incredibly thankful for my niece and my nephews. My kids love all their cousins and we enjoy having them be a part of our lives. Watching them learning and grow is a real joy for me.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

30 Day of Gratitude - Day 3

Today I want to focus on my home. I am so thankful for my home, it may not be perfect but it is warm, safe and is houses my wonderful family.

We are working on improving our home, making it more organized and livable for our large family. For awhile we wanted to move but we decided to refinance, stay where we are and make the most of our home. Lots of changes have already been made, more are coming and I am just thankful we are able to do all the things we have done so far.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Oatmeal Banana Muffins

I have been doing a lot more baking lately, not only am I trying to cut down on our grocery bill but I am also trying to get us all eating healthier.

My kids love muffins, their favorites are blueberry, banana or pumpkin. I recently went to make some banana muffins only to realize I was out of oil, so I looked around for a recipe that did not use any oil. After some looking, I decided to come up with my own and they were a huge hit.




5 over ripe bananas
4 cups of oats
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups of vanilla yogurt ( this can easily be made dairy free, just use a nut or soy yogurt, vanilla flavored )
2 large eggs
1.5 tbs baking soda
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tps vanilla

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash bananas, you don't want these to be complete mush, the chunks of banana in the muffins are one of the best parts! Add all ingredients and mix well.

Spray your muffin pan well to prevent sticking, fill and bake for 17 - 20 minutes.

Easy additions for extra yum include - Chocolate chips, raisins or craisins and nuts. They are yummy on their own but this would just take it up a notch!

30 Days of Gratitude - Day Two

Iowa was rocked by a very senseless tragedy today, two police officers were murdered. There has been so many police officers killed this year, it is heart breaking.

I am thankful for every single man and women out there that has become a police officer. I am thankful that each day they get into uniform and are willing to go out and risk their lives to keep us safe. I am thankful for their sacrifice.

We all need to stand behind our Police men and women. They deserve our honor and respect, they deserve our praise and most of all our prayers.

Thank a police officer today, flood them with love and support.

RIP Police Sgt. Anthony Beminio and Officer Justin Martin, you will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day One

Thanksgiving is approaching fast, so starts the time of year to really sit down and think about all the wonderful things in your life that you can be thankful for.
My family is incredibly blessed. I think about how blessed we are year round, this time of year, I just think about it more.
I will be doing a 30 days of gratitude, one post a day through out the month of November. I encourage others to do the same, it is always great to sit down and reflex upon the blessings in your life.

Day One -
I am thankful for the smell of a hot cup of coffee in the morning. The smell of the coffee brewing reminds me that I get another quiet day with my kids. Each day I wake up, make a cup of coffee and sit down to enjoy some time with my kids before we start our day. Generally I sip on my coffee while they watch a cartoon, play with toys or just do some relaxing before we start our normal day.

This laid back coffee and play time is very special to me and I cherish the time.

Giving up meal planning ( this time for good )

After several months of taking a lot of time to make it, and still not following the meal plan I made,  I have decided to give up on meal pl...